Two Pennsylvania congressmen have cosigned a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert asking him to reinstate Penn State's 40 repealed scholarships or their monetary equivalent.
Congressman Charlie Dent, R-Allentown, and Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Centre, question the repealed scholarships' academic repercussions in their letter. They argue that the NCAA's sanctions take an opportunity away from 40 student-athletes to receive a quality college education at Penn State.
"As a former PHEAA board member and current member of the House Appropriations Committee, and a member of the House Committee on educations and the Workforce, we have continually worked towards ensuring access to higher educations for those who cannot afford it," Dent and Thompson wrote in the letter.
The 40 repealed scholarships were part of a sanction package levied upon Penn State by the NCAA in July. In addition to the reduced number of scholarships, the football program was also slapped with a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and a vacation of wins from 1998-2011.
In a statement released on his website, Dent said: "I want to make it clear to the NCAA who they are really hurting with this scholarship reduction. It's not Jerry Sandusky and it's not the University. They are hurting young people who are completely innocent of anything relating to the Sandusky situation and who through no fault of their own are being denied a chance to get a great education."
Thompson agreed that the NCAA’s sanctions — namely, the repealed scholarships — are hurting those not directly involved with the Sandusky case.
"It's completely inappropriate," Thompson said in a phone interview. "Any consequences with wrongdoing should be levied on those responsible, not students. Some students who lost their scholarship, they lose access to an affordable education."
Thompson added that this is the third letter he signed to the NCAA. In a previous letter sent regarding the allocation of the $60 million fine, he said the tone of the NCAA's response was "unacceptable."
As of press time Tuesday, the NCAA had not released a public response with regard to the letter written by Dent and Thompson.